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Maciamo
21-06-06, 18:52
BBC News : Scientists urge evolution lessons (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5098608.stm)


The world's top scientists have joined forces to call for "evidence-based" teaching of evolution in schools.

A statement signed by 67 national science academies says evidence on the origins of life is being "concealed, denied, or confused" in some classes.

It lists key facts on evolution that "scientific evidence has never contradicted".

These include the formation of Earth 4.5 billion years ago, and the onset of life at least 2.5 billion years ago.

"We know of schools in various parts of the world where the children are told that the Earth is about 8,000 years old," said Yves Quere, co-chair of the Inter Academy Panel on International Issues, the global network of science academies.

"So in this statement we say you cannot teach this to children, it is wrong."
...
"In some countries, the simple theory of evolution is denied in the teaching of children in schools," he said.
...
Its release follows fierce debate about whether so-called intelligent design (ID) should be taught in biology courses in schools, mainly in the US.



My views on the subject are unequivocal; I think that anyone (not just school teachers, but also parents or religious workers) who teaches to children things contradicting hard scientific facts about evolution should be considered as a criminal and sent to jail. Teaching such lies is not just irresponsible, it confuses children, hamper them in their intellectual and philosophical development, and amounts to brainwashing and manipulation of mind and feelings. The more children these lies have be taught too and the harsher the sentence should be. I consider it like a form of "intellectual rape" (adults may have their protection against it, but not children or even teenagers).

Revenant
21-06-06, 20:40
Evolution should be mandatory, perhaps with a national standardized test on the theory that all students must take at public hall upon entering highschool, or graduating highschool. The children will then have the correct info on evolution, and it won't be glossed over like it was at my Interdenominational Christian School.

Still, if teachers and parents want Creationism to be taught as well, that should be allowed at the private schools. The choice then really is the students, as they will have correct info on evolution, as well as what the parents and teachers of the religious schools also believe.

I'm certain someone is going to say that Creationism shouldn't be taught in science class, cause there's nothing scientific about it.

Revenant
21-06-06, 20:50
I think that anyone (not just school teachers, but also parents or religious workers) who teaches to children things contradicting hard scientific facts about evolution should be considered as a criminal and sent to jail.Wouldn't that be damaging to religious freedoms, to tell parents and teachers that they aren't allowed to tell the kids what they actually believe?

Does the pendulum really need to swing to the opposite extreme?

Ma Cherie
21-06-06, 21:40
To be quite honest, I don't believe that Creationism should be taught. The reason why I believe this is because it's not science. Besides, the thing about Creationism is that it seems to focuse more on the belief in the Christian god.

Revenant
21-06-06, 22:03
I don't believe that Creationism should be taught. The reason why I believe this is because it's not science.Would it be alright if it were presented in a different subject?
Besides, the thing about Creationism is that it seems to focus more on the belief in the Christian god.Not sure what's so wrong with this...

What of the private Buddhist schools teaching the luminous Buddha-nature that we all possess, something completely unsupported by neuroscience? Perhaps there's no evidence against it. Thoughts?

Maciamo
22-06-06, 09:50
Would it be alright if it were presented in a different subject?Not sure what's so wrong with this...

How would kids feel if they are taught one thing about the universe in one class and the opposite in another class ? We already have enough confused people looking for the meaning of life (or rather 'to give a meaning to their life') to start institutionalised courses in conflicting views on the nature of life and the universe.

Maciamo
22-06-06, 10:00
Wouldn't that be damaging to religious freedoms, to tell parents and teachers that they aren't allowed to tell the kids what they actually believe?

If it's better for the sanity of people in society (and the US really needs it, more than any other country) I don't see what is the problem. I cannot bear the idea of living in a society where blatant lies are brainwashed into children through the compulsory school system. But it sounds as repulsive to know that parents have the right to teach the same lies (or even bigger ones) to their offspring.

I know that the US was built on religious freedom, but freedom does not mean that everything should be allowed. I think that too many Americans still don't get this. You are free as long as you do not hurt/harm other people (physically or psychologically) or damage property or do something illegal. It's true for free speech and it should be true for religion as well.

Teaching children lies about how life and the Earth were created will undoubtedly cause serious emotional or psychological harm once those children grow up and are confronted to reality. The later it happens and the deeper the harm.

Revenant
22-06-06, 10:35
A lot of the members of the church I grew up in, and the kids I grew up with still carry the Young Earth paradigm. They seem healthy, neither psychologically nor emotionally harmed, and their beliefs don't actually cause anyone harm. The most they get is 'Why the heck do you believe that! Don't you understand the theory of evolution?'.

For the few like me, who abandoned the Young Earth Creationism model, it was at first a bit of a shock, but like all beliefs done in, almost all of us bounce back with a different set of beliefs that we can live with. I don't exactly feel psychologically or emotionally harmed for having been taught Creationism.

Lastly, thinking on two differing theories might be a bit confusing at first, but it may help them develop their own beliefs, as well as a new set of critical thinking skills.

Mycernius
22-06-06, 19:15
To be quite honest, I don't believe that Creationism should be taught. The reason why I believe this is because it's not science. Besides, the thing about Creationism is that it seems to focuse more on the belief in the Christian god.
I agree that Creationism is faith and should be taught in that subject. The problem is that extremists cannot deal with facts and still like to cling onto failing beliefs. Evolution is a science and therefore should be taught that way. Creationism is a belief that is based on how a more primitive people explained how the universe came about and should be taught under religious education or even sociology. If the idea of a Christian creation is valid a Shinto, Buddhist, Hindu version is just as valid. In that case they should all be compared in a RE class, not a science class.
Another thing about creationism is that is spends more time on trying to disprove evolution, but not a lot trying to prove its own belief, relying on faith rather than solid facts.

No-name
22-06-06, 19:24
I agree that Creationism is faith and should be taught in that subject. The problem is that extremists cannot deal with facts and still like to cling onto failing beliefs. Evolution is a science and therefore should be taught that way. Creationism is a belief that is based on how a more primitive people explained how the universe came about and should be taught under religious education or even sociology. If the idea of a Christian creation is valid a Shinto, Buddhist, Hindu version is just as valid. In that case they should all be compared in a RE class, not a science class.
Another thing about creationism is that is spends more time on trying to disprove evolution, but not a lot trying to prove its own belief, relying on faith rather than solid facts.
I absolutely agree. The only thing taught in science class should be science. A comparative religion class that compared the origin mythology of many of the world's religions would be an interesting elective.

I'm not certain that the Bible... or any "sacred" text is meant to be a science textbook. From my perspective, a God would have had to communicate with people in terms and concepts they understood.

Maciamo
22-06-06, 21:10
Mycernius, why should there be religion classes at school ? That is effectively forcing children to "learn" about a particular faith, which I find unfair and biased.

Mycernius
22-06-06, 21:41
Maciamo, you must have a different idea from me about religious classes at school, or either you mis-read what I meant. As sabro san mentioned, a religious education class is just as needed as a science, geography or history class. It would teach a child on how religions compare and how each person follows that faith. It will educate them on understanding why their next door neighbour sees Saturday as the Sabbath or why they wear a turban. I prefer children to have a more open view of the world rather than a closed minded one that some parents would teach them.

Maciamo
23-06-06, 10:31
Maciamo, you must have a different idea from me about religious classes at school, or either you mis-read what I meant. As sabro san mentioned, a religious education class is just as needed as a science, geography or history class. It would teach a child on how religions compare and how each person follows that faith. It will educate them on understanding why their next door neighbour sees Saturday as the Sabbath or why they wear a turban. I prefer children to have a more open view of the world rather than a closed minded one that some parents would teach them.

Do you have such classes in England ? Because in Belgium, and in many countries, I can assure you that "religion classes" mean teaching about ONE particular religion (in Belgium's case Roman Catholicism), and make sure you don't try to convert to another religion by scaring you with all the negative aspects of other religions (well that part was clearer with the Jesuit education).

No-name
23-06-06, 16:45
A Jesuit education has a clear religious purpose from the start. Anyone enrolling their child in a Jesuit school would know this from the beginning. I was under the impression that we were discussing what we call public schools in the US-- schools run by the state for the education of the masses.

In California some schools may offer a comparative religions class or a Bible as literature class and pupils will learn a little bit about religions in history classes, but none of it is meant to be sectarian.

strongvoicesforward
23-06-06, 17:37
I think that anyone (not just school teachers, but also parents or religious workers) who teaches to children things contradicting hard scientific facts about evolution should be considered as a criminal and sent to jail. Teaching such lies is not just irresponsible, it confuses children, hamper them in their intellectual and philosophical development, and amounts to brainwashing and manipulation of mind and feelings.

Agreed.


I consider it like a form of "intellectual rape".

As well it is.

Mycernius
23-06-06, 19:37
When I was at school and even today RE classes teach about every faith, not just the one. In my first lesson we were told about various faiths and how such ideas came into being. It seems that Belgium hasn't thrown certain prejudices away when it comes to non-Christian beliefs.

Tsuyoiko
24-06-06, 13:30
When I was at school and even today RE classes teach about every faith, not just the one.From QCA (http://www.qca.org.uk/7.html), the government-sponsored body responsible for the National Curriculum in the UK:
Religious education (RE) actively promotes the values of truth, justice, respect for all and care of the environment. It places specific emphasis on pupils valuing themselves and others, the role of family and the community in religious belief and activity, the celebration of diversity in society through understanding similarities and differences, and human stewardship of the earth. Religious education also recognises the changing nature of society, including changes in religious practice and expression and the influence of religion, in the local, national and global community.

strongvoicesforward
24-06-06, 16:45
I have been thinking about this thread`s OP today, and the more I think about it the more I feel it should be congratulated for its straightforward, straight talking, no-nonsense, no-beating around the bush statements with nothing held back on the topic of religion.

I think I could have crafted the same OP, but, I dare to guess if under my name it would have been left to stand, even if I had only utilized half of the statements. But, now we know this does not fall under any violations of rules.

It is a good example of addressing the topic and putting forth a personal opinion and message on the topic without attacking anyone directly. Only someone who takes offense at personal association to the topic would view it as a direct atttack.

In any event, this OP stands as an example as to how hard hitting opinions can and are permitted to be put forth and applied to topics. Debate and discussion should not shy away from directness or even bluntness directed at topics. I don`t think any of mine have risen to the skill level of this OP in phrasology, but I hope and will endeavor to reach at least the same level, using it as a standard to go by.

Revenant
24-06-06, 17:54
Sabro, my parents, some of the most compassionate teachers I have known (Mr, Voogd, Mr. Tuninga, Mr. Veldman, and others), should be placed in jail for intellectual rape.

Errr.... doesn't that strike anyone else as pure over the top insanity?

Mars Man
24-06-06, 18:06
My views on the subject are unequivocal; I think that anyone (not just school teachers, but also parents or religious workers) who teaches to children things contradicting hard scientific facts about evolution should be considered as a criminal and sent to jail. Teaching such lies is not just irresponsible, it confuses children, hamper them in their intellectual and philosophical development, and amounts to brainwashing and manipulation of mind and feelings. The more children these lies have be taught too and the harsher the sentence should be. I consider it like a form of "intellectual rape" (adults may have their protection against it, but not children or even teenagers).

Other than the fact that this frame of mind is that from which fanaticsim in the several belief-systems came from in the first place, there seems to be a problem in the matter of hard scientific facts about evolution.

Now I, for one, do understand that there are certain facts in this wide ranging field called 'evolution', but never let the fact that scientific understandings are open to falsification, and that the overall evolution concept is still considered theory in the scientific world escape me.

The opinion presented in the OP is obviously for the sake of argument.

I think that evolution should definitely be taught in the school system and ID should not--it's not even science. (although there was one valid view that it should be taught in order to let it be known just how unscientific it is.)

No-name
24-06-06, 18:58
Mars- absolutely no disagreement about what the public schools should be teaching. As a public school administrator, I would take disciplinary action against any science teacher who tried to sneak in Intelligent Design into the biology class.

I found the idea that Maciamo is putting out there that the teaching of any religion, by anyone, to any child should be criminal and is "intellectual rape" rather shocking and offensive. Not only is it indicative of some ego driven Athiestic superior mindset, it is proposing that the state should decide what we teach our children and it is a defacto outlawing of religion. When the state dictates what we teach our children, it is deciding the orthodoxy of our beliefs. Such a facist state should never be allowed to exist.

Feel free to raise your children as you like in good concious. As for me and my house, we will serve our God.

strongvoicesforward
24-06-06, 19:23
The opinion presented in the OP is obviously for the sake of argument.

You are reading that into it. To me, it seems rather clear that Maciamo has some strong opinions on the matter and he was sharing them with us.

I believe those are his opinions, and if he wants to say they are not, then he will correct my reading of it, or he will correct his opinions.

Either way doesn`t bother me. But, I think he was rather clear and straigtforward.

Everything isn`t always planted in multiple meanings of words or presented for the sake of argument. Some who are for some reason personally involved in the Bible and all the double meanings of all the different words, however, may tend to have a world view that everything is.

Mycernius
24-06-06, 20:24
Not nit-picking or anything, but if you look at the bottom of the page on the Religion and Philosophy Forum homepage you will see that Maciamo is not a moderator for this forum,Tsuyoiko and myself are. Maciamo is admin for the entire site and any problem subjects on individual forums are left up to the mods for that forum. Only when things get out of hand will other staff members become involved and ultimately the admin.

Revenant
24-06-06, 20:30
Actually I hope Maciamo posted for the sake of argument alone, otherwise I would worry about him. What he posted just isn't what any balanced person would post in all seriousness.

No one should ever go to prison for telling their children that they believe the world was brought into existence by a greater being. It's as simple as that.

No-name
24-06-06, 20:50
Thanks Mycernius and Revenant.

I thought at first that is was just hyperbole and I have given him ample opportunity to either explain it or to back away from it... but he continues to stick to it. I am afraid that it is an indication of some deep seated resentment, contempt and hatred toward religion, the religious establishment and religious people.

That someone would say, or imply, even for the sake of argument that I abuse and mentally rape my own children is offensive. That he actually believes it is cause for concern and renders his decision in protecting and shepherding SVF in an entirely different light. That he would continue to assist a religious bigot in spewing contemptuous derisions and protect him from comment or rebuttal from three other members of our community makes sense if he shares SVF's contempt for all people who declare a faith. I am directly questioning his ability to make such decision when religion and philosophy are the topics of the forum. Perhaps this role should be reviewed.

...Or perhaps this is not a forum for free thinking people who hold tolerance as a core value. A warning concerning the bias toward athiests and those without claims to faith should appear with the forum rules.

Mycernius
25-06-06, 00:08
I wondered how old he was. Ah, to be thirteen again. Just starting to learn how to be a surly teenager, hair growing from strange places, noticing girls and starting to move from the boy soprano to the bass baritone range. Has he got to the I know it all stage and your just the inbelievable old person who is so out of touch phase?:D

Maciamo
25-06-06, 01:16
Actually I hope Maciamo posted for the sake of argument alone, otherwise I would worry about him. What he posted just isn't what any balanced person would post in all seriousness.
No one should ever go to prison for telling their children that they believe the world was brought into existence by a greater being. It's as simple as that.

You are right, prisons are already too crowded and use up tax-payers' money...:blush:

CarrionMan
25-06-06, 04:49
Yeah, although I've most likely stopped puberty except for some more growing, maybe a few voice changes.

Maciamo
25-06-06, 11:49
A lot of the members of the church I grew up in, and the kids I grew up with still carry the Young Earth paradigm. They seem healthy, neither psychologically nor emotionally harmed, and their beliefs don't actually cause anyone harm.

Maybe they haven't confronted reality yet. How old are they ? The older people start to realise the deception of religion, the harder the shock. I know many 'elderly' peolpe (well, over 55-60) who have finally understood that all the things they were told by the Church were big lies, and they ended up depressed, feeling their life was a huge deception. Some of them died soon after because religion had taken such a big place in their life - for nothing... But a good deal of those "long-term" indocrinated people never manage to face reality because they know (consciouly or unconsciouly) that they wouldn't survive the psychological turmoil. That's why I say that teaching kids lies can sooner or later cause irreparable harm.

That is one of the reason why religion causes wars and violence. After a certain age, once people cannot easily change their beliefs or conception of the world/universe, they'd rather fight to death than give up their beliefs when threatened. I think that it is exactly what is happening with Muslims nowadays. Globalisation, technology, societal changes, and increasingly easy access to information over the Internet have all contributed in shattering the dogmas of Islam. The poor socio-economic and intellectual (e.g. scientific, artistic...) perfomance of the Muslim world in the 20th and early 21st century have created doubt about the validity of the religious model and faith in the God that was supposed to "save them" (or at least favour them over the "infidels").

Americans have been less confronted to these doubts and frustration thanks to their prosper economy (esp. after WWII), yet things are slowly starting to change in the US too. Contrarily to homogenous Muslim societies where one is pressured to keep faith and where frustration can only be vented through fanaticism, terrorism and violence, the USA is a freer country (though with its own religious pressure groups, more in some areas than others), and people can more freely become non-religious or Atheist. The percentage of the US population who is Atheist has passed from 8.5% to 15% between 1990 and 2001. This coincide with the Gulf War and 1991 economic crash, then the time when the US has increasingly deteriorated its international image and gaps between the rich and the poor took unprecedently large proportion (see article about the Gini coefficient (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23928)). God no longer blessed America, and some people finally understood that their religion was not really the word of god. But it is mostly younger people who become Atheist, as others often cannot bear the psychological upheaval it brings about. That's why Atheism grows slowly over decades in a same society, and not in a blink once new scientific facts are found. Only the flexible (and independent) minds of children, teenagers and some adults can assimilate the new knowledge and challenge the beliefs they were taught.

Minty
27-06-06, 01:03
In Australian in public schools, no religious classes are conducted. In private schools however they are. So, it depends on the religion of the private school, some are Methodists, some Anglican, some Presbyterian...etc

I don't think they should teach religion in public schools but in private schools
I think it is ok. After all, those private schools are linked to the various religions. Some even has the religion in their title, for example Methodist Ladies' College. A College is a private school in Australia unlike in the U.S. it is an University.

Maciamo
27-06-06, 10:36
I don't think they should teach religion in public schools but in private schools
I think it is ok. After all, those private schools are linked to the various religions.

I strongly disagree.

My first reason is that in some countries, like Belgium, people have virtually no choice between public and private school, as they are almost all private and affiliated to the Catholic church (the school names are always "Saint something" or "Our Lady of something"). In fact I was suprised to see in the UK that Catholic schools had the word "Catholic" in their name, as it is almost always so in Belgium for a school that is not called a "Atheneum" (i.e. government owned, at least in the French-speaking area).

My second reason is that it is ethically unacceptable to force children (who have no say in what school they go to) to learn about a particular religion. It would be ok if "religion classes" were like in the UK, i.e. teaching about the differences between the major world religion, without ever favouring one. But propaganda for one particular religion is just unacceptable in any kind of school.

Revenant
27-06-06, 10:58
It would be ok if "religion classes" were like in the UK, i.e. teaching about the differences between the major world religion, without ever favouring one. But propaganda for one particular religion is just unacceptable in any kind of school.As I see it, comparitive religion and proper science (including the theory of evolution and excluding Young Earth Creationism) should be mandatory. Comparitive religion classes would go some ways in increasing tolerance towards other belief systems. Both atheists and fundamental Christians could take a lot from these classes, as both seem to have members that are highly intolerant. Still, teacher prejudices cannot be avoided, so an atheist teacher or a Christian teacher may put opposing belief systems in a very poor light.

If a school is religious, the two above mentioned classes should also be mandatory, and propoganda religious classes completely seperate from those.

I can't see telling parents that they can't raise their children with the belief systems that they absolutely believe in, but neither do I think that the children should not have some working understanding of other belief systems as well as hopefully an understanding that promotes more tolerance, for example, that religions don't cause war, or the Koran isn't a book of hate from front to back.

Maciamo
27-06-06, 13:04
As I see it, comparitive religion and proper science (including the theory of evolution and excluding Young Earth Creationism) should be mandatory. Comparitive religion classes would go some ways in increasing tolerance towards other belief systems. Both atheists and fundamental Christians could take a lot from these classes, as both seem to have members that are highly intolerant.

I agree that comparative religion classes would be good. I agree that it would make religious people more tolerant of other religions, and probably help them relativise (and attenuate) their religious faith and fervour. However I disagree that it would make Atheist people more tolerant. In my experience, the more I have learnt about various religions, the more unreligious I became until becoming an Atheist. And the more I learnt about the (irrational and conflicting) beliefs and the politics and money involved in many religions, the more annoyed and intolerant I became of religions and religiousness in general.

I had a pretty positive view of Buddhism before coming to Japan. It was a bit damaged when I saw how Japanese Buddhist priests made such a big business out of funeral, with huge sums of money asked to the bereft family to obtain a "better" Buddhist name, which would grant acess to Nirvana (add to that that the name in question came out of a computer software that anybody could have bought for a fraction of the price !). Another thing I disliked was all the superstitions attached to Buddhism in Japan (e.g. the Daruma dolls). I still have a fairly good image of some purer forms of Buddhism (NOT Mahayana) where superstitions and money doesn't conflict with the true quest to self-improvement. But that's more of a personal code of conduct, rather than an organised religion...


If a school is religious, the two above mentioned classes should also be mandatory, and propoganda religious classes completely seperate from those.

That will never happen. :okashii:


I can't see telling parents that they can't raise their children with the belief systems that they absolutely believe in, but neither do I think that the children should not have some working understanding of other belief systems as well as hopefully an understanding that promotes more tolerance, for example, that religions don't cause war, or the Koran isn't a book of hate from front to back.

I am the kind of person who believes that people shouldn't even be allowed to become parents if they do not have the necessary knowledge/skills and motivation to raise children properly. This means knowing the proper nutrition for a pregnant woman, for a baby, for a child; learning about children psychology, pedagogy, etc. Isn't it a full time job to raise a child ? Maybe there should be some laws limiting the number of children as well, as the dedication and care of parents to their children tends to be increasingly divided (and thus "bad") the more children they have.

I find it vital not to teach lies that could be detrimental to the psychological development and self-accomplishment of a child (not just lies about religions, but about nature, the world, laws, social conventions, etc.). It is part of being a good parent. And if we want society as a whole to improve, governments should assure that all parents be good parents, so that children will become better people, and society will be allowed to progress.

There are already thousands of preventive laws about almost everything (against ecological problems, monopoly of big businesses, unfair trade, racial and sexual discrimination...); why shouldn't there be preventive laws against bad education in homes ? Isn't the most fundamental and important thing in preventing crime, delinquency, vandalism, unemployment and many other societal problems typical of lower (read poorly educated) classes ?

Revenant
27-06-06, 15:14
However I disagree that it would make Atheist people more tolerant. In my experience, the more I have learnt about various religions, the more unreligious I became until becoming an Atheist. And the more I learnt about the (irrational and conflicting) beliefsI've got no problems with irrational beliefs that make people a whole lot nicer to live with.
and the politics and money involved in many religions, the more annoyed and intolerant I became of religions and religiousness in general.The whole politics things isn't easy. People don't want abortion banned, but only some land developers would complain were a Buddhist party to start campaigning for old growth forest protection.

I'm pretty sure everyone knows that actual religion and business aren't supposed to mix. Corruption shouldn't be reason to view the religions themselves in a bad light.

Maybe there should be some laws limiting the number of children as well, as the dedication and care of parents to their children tends to be increasingly divided (and thus "bad") the more children they have.Supposedly IQ has gone up, and EQ has gone down within the last century. Perhaps children of large families learn relationship skills better than only children.

Isn't the most fundamental and important thing in preventing crime, delinquency, vandalism, unemployment and many other societal problems typical of lower (read poorly educated) classes ?A lot of Muslim fanatics are poorly educated, that doesn't speak at all for some of the Christians that I have come across on the net.

Mars Man
27-06-06, 18:04
While I agree with some of the points, or in other cases the essence of some points you have and are making, Maciamo san, I am nowhere near convinced that you yourself have taken that careful a look at the 'BIG PICTURE'.

If you were to look out your window, I think you'd notice that the world is working about as well as usual--and this usual time span is several millions of years, right? And of course, this is in spite of any belief-system that humankind has every come up with over all this time. It is in spite of the homo sapien's (as well as other species) tendency towards violence against those of 'out-groups'.

We can generalize and share our personal experiences and so on, but to put some peer-reviewed, valid statistics out on the table would take a good quarter of a lifetime to do, I'm sure you'd agree.



I think that anyone (not just school teachers, but also parents or religious workers) who teaches to children things contradicting hard scientific facts about evolution should be considered as a criminal and sent to jail. (bold and underline mine)

While there is some generality, thus some room for margin of application and intent, the above is otherwise extremely uncalled for and fanatical in nature. And I yet strongly urge that a greater degree of empathy be shown by correcting this wrong. I do declare that such a statement is wrong !

Minty
27-06-06, 23:33
I strongly disagree.
My first reason is that in some countries, like Belgium, people have virtually no choice between public and private school, as they are almost all private and affiliated to the Catholic church (the school names are always "Saint something" or "Our Lady of something"). In fact I was suprised to see in the UK that Catholic schools had the word "Catholic" in their name, as it is almost always so in Belgium for a school that is not called a "Atheneum" (i.e. government owned, at least in the French-speaking area).
My second reason is that it is ethically unacceptable to force children (who have no say in what school they go to) to learn about a particular religion. It would be ok if "religion classes" were like in the UK, i.e. teaching about the differences between the major world religion, without ever favouring one. But propaganda for one particular religion is just unacceptable in any kind of school.

I was referring to the schools in Australia; I don't know anything about the schools in Belgium. I don't know about French schools neither because I am not a mother yet. Furthermore, I think my child will be born in Australia. And after 6 months s/he is born, the first 6 years s/he will be baby-sit by my mother so it would be half a year in Australia and half a year in Malaysia. My husband and I would move to Australia few years from now and that's the time he wants our child to be born. This way I could further my degree and still work.

Mycernius
28-06-06, 19:36
Just to point out, but an article I read a few years ago pnts out that the most stable marriages in the US are between atheists. I might try and track it down, but I can't promise anything.

Mycernius
28-06-06, 19:58
I have been mulling over the education of religion on children ever since Maciamo mentioned it as Intellectual rape and offenders should be punished. I am afraid that statement sounds like something that would come from the extremists, either religious or non-religious. How someone raises their own children in a caring environment shouldn't be open to such a belittling statement. The case for anyone raising their children with any type of teaching could have the same accusation laid against them. A parents chief goal for their children is to bring them up as best as they can. They want the best for their children. If they are raised in a faith household, the parent will feel that the best way to raise their children is within this environment. An atheistic person might want to raise their children in a sceintific view on the world. We, as a society, cannot say that one is morally wrong above the other. Both sets of children will encounter facts beyond their parents as they go to school and meet other children whose parents have different views on the world. This itself can be traumatic for young children. The mere fact of sending your 5 year old away from you for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week causes tears. How many of you have seen children on their first day of school in tears? Doing this could cause abandonment issues, lose of love from a parent. Should everyone who does this be open to causing emotional distress to children? Of course not. It is part of growing up and learning how to cope with the world around us. After all how many do it for the rest of their school lives?
Children are very resilent to changes and facts that come into their lives as they get older. I admit that I have not got any children, but I am a Cub scout leader and have been for almost 20 years. The age group I deal with is 8 to 11, an age when they start to question the world around them. If a child asks me about God and faith, I will never say that their parents are wrong. I will tell them that I have a point of view that might not be the same as their parents, but it is not my job to say 'Your parents are wrong', because that is just as much emotional or intellectual rape as the teachers, priests or parents are doing. The child will find their own way.
I don't know if Maciamo has any children, but when they start school and have teachers telling them one thing and a parent telling them another, you'll find that they will cope. It is part of growing up.
All sabro has to look forward to at the moment is a surly teenager, who regards him as a walking bank:D

Maciamo
28-06-06, 20:29
Just a few like Maciamo and strongvoicesforward (although he isn't actually Atheist). I think most go through an anti-religious stage, and after that simply take on attitudes much like Duo's, that people can believe as they like, so long as they don't try and replace secular laws with religiously-inspired laws.

I have been abgry at Christianity since I was a child, and at monotheist religions since I was a teenager. I do not feel that my anger appeases itself with time, on the contrary. It highly depends on what kind of people I am talking to. In everyday life I have very few opportunities to complain about religion because I never hear anybody talk about religion in Belgium or Japan. But while travelling or on Internet forums, I meet a lot of very Christian Americans that really piss me off; these people are almost always Conservative Protestant Americans, or Muslims (much more the former, as I interact with more American Christians than with Muslims). Interestingly, I was raised in a 100% Catholic environment (well among the Christians, as there were many non religious people as well), but I now do not harbour as negative feelings towards Catholics, because almost all of those I know (who are priests or religion teacher or old) are non-practising, not very religious or agnostic. The exception are Philipinos, who are still very conservative and fanatic depite being Catholics. In other words, the fanatic Christians I have met were almost all American and Philipinos.

No-name
28-06-06, 20:49
Although we have science requirements and standards in the state of California, it is not part of the Exit Exam requirements. Evolution is definitly not empasized in the way it should and the State's Science framework- the document that governs the scope and sequence of the curriculumn and serves as a guide in the subject area for textbooks, materials, and methodology... is in my opinion, one of the weaker examples. (Math and English are much better.) I do believe that it would greatly benefit California to strengthen the instruction of science- in all grade levels. They should consult with some of the larger science bodies such as the NAS, fill in the holes and not only update the content, but reemphasize method, critical thinking and analysis and the basic concepts that can be applied accross the curriculum.

Minty
29-06-06, 00:40
I have been abgry at Christianity since I was a child, and at monotheist religions since I was a teenager. I do not feel that my anger appeases itself with time, on the contrary. It highly depends on what kind of people I am talking to. In everyday life I have very few opportunities to complain about religion because I never hear anybody talk about religion in Belgium or Japan. But while travelling or on Internet forums, I meet a lot of very Christian Americans that really piss me off; these people are almost always Conservative Protestant Americans, or Muslims (much more the former, as I interact with more American Christians than with Muslims). Interestingly, I was raised in a 100% Catholic environment (well among the Christians, as there were many non religious people as well), but I now do not harbour as negative feelings towards Catholics, because almost all of those I know (who are priests or religion teacher or old) are non-practising, not very religious or agnostic. The exception are Philipinos, who are still very conservative and fanatic depite being Catholics. In other words, the fanatic Christians I have met were almost all American and Philipinos.
You know I met a lot of Pilipino that are very overzealous in their religious believes too.
I also happened to notice a lot of Asians in the US or Australia are also very rabid and pious. I was talking to my uncle recently on emails and we were not even talking about religions but family business but his response was always full of these religious words even we weren't talking about religions. I find this extremely peculiar for non religious person like me. The Christian churches for Asian communities are really big over there I heard.

Oh Maciamo can you explain a bit more about the whether religions are taught in Belgium or French schools. If not has it got something to do with separating religion and the state?

When I was talking about religions taught in Australian schools, they are only taught in private schools which are very expensive. Parents only send their kids to private schools for strict disciplines. It's the parents' choice. And it is obvious those private schools are founded by interfaith groups.

If people just want to get an education without paying expensive uniforms and without restrictions on things like hair dyes, wearing finger nail enamels, jewels...etc they can just go to public schools, and there are no religions taught in public schools.

Mars Man
29-06-06, 03:46
NB : I could have taken Japan as an example of non religious country

I was going to post to a different vein, but this just stood out like a nude woman standing in the middle of a cross-walk.
How off the mark can a person be? Maciamo, I challenge you on this claim !!! Can you show me how it is that Japan is a non-religious country when you should know good and well that almost every house and many apartments in this contry have both a butsudan and a Shinto alter??!!!!

Your generalzations about the USA need to be checked out further too. The statistics given earlier are not as clear, I would estimate, as they would have liked themselves to apprear to have been.
Well, I was gonna post to a different vein, and will later. Gotta go now. :wave:

Maciamo
29-06-06, 10:15
I was going to post to a different vein, but this just stood out like a nude woman standing in the middle of a cross-walk.
How off the mark can a person be? Maciamo, I challenge you on this claim !!! Can you show me how it is that Japan is a non-religious country when you should know good and well that almost every house and many apartments in this contry have both a butsudan and a Shinto alter??!!!!

There is no 100% non religious country. When I say non-religious, it means compatively to the world average. But are you serious about butsudan and Shinto altars ? First of all I mostly noticed them in old people's homes (never in young people's apartments). Secondly, I have spent over 4 years discussing with Japanese people (again mostly young, under 40) and never missed an opportunity to question them on their "religious" beliefs, affiliation and their knowledge about Buddhism or Shintoism. If most people gave me a religious affiliation (as people also do in Belgium, meaning that their "family" is this or that), in 99% of the cases I knew more than them about their religion, they were non-practising, not so believing and in any case not really interested in religion.



Your generalzations about the USA need to be checked out further too. The statistics given earlier are not as clear, I would estimate, as they would have liked themselves to apprear to have been.

These are official statistics, not generalisations. You can find all the ones I have mentioned on Nationmaster (http://www.nationmaster.com/).

Maciamo
29-06-06, 11:32
Oh Maciamo can you explain a bit more about the whether religions are taught in Belgium or French schools. If not has it got something to do with separating religion and the state?

I think that religion is not taught at all in French public schools. It was in Belgium during my primary school years (my secondary school was private and Catholic). I am not sure that religion is taught in all public schools and whether it is still taught at all nowadays in public schools. I find that it is against the separation of State and Religion and shouldn't be. I am actually surprised that in a so liberal and non religious country as Belgium I was taught creationism in a public school ! Let's keep in mind that all schools in belgium are free (public or private) and the vast majority is private and Catholic-owned. So even banning religion (catechism) classes in public schools would not change much to the overall situation.

Because all schools are state-funded (hence free), I think that none should teach about one particular religion. Why should tax-payer money pay for teachers of Catholicism in all the country's schools ? I suppose that because private schools are not state-funded in English-speaking countries (and most other countries), it has created some misunderstanding as to why I wish even private schools to stop teaching about one particular religion.

Mars Man
29-06-06, 12:17
But are you serious about butsudan and Shinto altars ?

Yes. I'm dead serious. Where in Japan did you live? What kind of people did you come in contact with? And do you actually understand Japanese 'religiosty'? It's quite different from that in the west; for the most part.

The survey data? That is still general until we check out the questions asked, the sample space and cross section, the areas in which they had been asked, under what circumstances, and a lot of other things. I would thing that you would be fully aware of easy it can be to put a spin on statistical data. Also, we would have to get a couple of opinions on the validity of the methodologicalness of the survey process.

It's simple not as easy as reading off some percentages given by one survey somewhere as though that were the final word. Before absolute credit is given, it should be checked out. As I've said before, really doing a good job would surely take some 20 years worth of work--to do it right, you know.

Maciamo
29-06-06, 13:38
Yes. I'm dead serious. Where in Japan did you live? What kind of people did you come in contact with? And do you actually understand Japanese 'religiosty'? It's quite different from that in the west; for the most part.

Most Japanese only go to the temple/shrine once a year (for the New Year), and it is more a tradition than a sign of religiosity. I also know many Belgian who attend the Xmas mass but are otherwise agnostic or deist. I have never seen an ordinary Japanese (i.e. not a monk/priest) practice Buddhist meditation, or refrain from eating four-legged animals (like they all did before the 20th century), or show any other sign that they had anything to do with Buddhism. Some people consider modern Shintoism as a set of traditions more than a religion. Most Japanese now have Western-style wedding in front of a (often fake) Christian priest, instead of a Buddhist or Shinto wedding. Yet they do take their wedding day much more seriously than in many European country (expensive weddings with one's boss and coworkers are still seen as a sign of status in Japan). Isn't that a clear sign that they do not care about their religious affiliation ? Would a true Christian ever have a Muslim-style or Hindu-style wedding ?

For more information on Japanese Religions, I suggest you to read my article in the Culture section of Japan Reference (http://www.eupedia.com/culture/).

Btw, I consider that people who do not attend religious service, don't pray, do not read their holy book (if any), do not discuss religious matters or otherwise show signs of piety, to be non religious, even if they officially claim a religious affiliation because their family do.

Mars Man
30-06-06, 05:37
Btw, I consider that people who do not attend religious service, don't pray, do not read their holy book (if any), do not discuss religious matters or otherwise show signs of piety, to be non religious, even if they officially claim a religious affiliation because their family do.


This rather clears up the problem. Your definition of 'religion' is the narrower one. If we were to go by that aggregate definition, then Shintoism is not a religion at all.

I don't need to read your opinion of something that I have already studied fairly enough--especially since this very thread has shown the great bias and, yes, prejudice (look up that word if you don't fully understand all the possible sense it carries) that your opinion of religion and belief-systems' doctrines contains.

Sugata Masaaki, a professor who has done research and study on Shintoism today put it quite well when he wrote, "Shinto is so inextricably woven into the fabric of Japanese daily life that people ae barely aware of its existence. To the Japanese it is less a religion than an unobtrusive environmental fixture, like the air they breathe."

We can call it tradition, yes, that is correct. It is nonetheless religious tradition to the degree that is stemmed from, is based in, and propogated by the belief-system which claims it for its own. To that degree, it can correctly be defined as 'acts of religiosity'.

While it is true, as an educated guess tells me, that most young people who have left their parents' house for school or work, or those young singles and divorced singles without children who are under the age of 30, don't keep a proper butsudan or kamidama at their apartments, but may well keep other Shinto-based ornament and charms.

Even while it is true that many Japanese only go to the shrines for Oshogatsu, this is nonetheless a religious act. There is no mistake there. The vast number of those who go is to be well considered. Those who practice the act of warding off the bad spirits at Setsubun are nontheless partaking in a Shinto belief-system doctrine. The Hinamatsuri is Shinto, as is Koinobori and the various summer festivals. Obon is Budhist and many reverently go to the graves of their ancestors and wash down the stones and place food there--both young and old alike, both family groups and single children. Many people observe some form of burning bark or other things to both bring and send off the returned spirits of the dead who come to enjoy the Obon decor and fruit set up in their homes.

I could go on, but do not have the time now.

The fact is, Japan is far from being as non-religious as you want to define it. Your definition would not hold up universally in academia--and you should know that much.

Reiku
02-07-06, 04:29
How would kids feel if they are taught one thing about the universe in one class and the opposite in another class ? We already have enough confused people looking for the meaning of life (or rather 'to give a meaning to their life') to start institutionalised courses in conflicting views on the nature of life and the universe.

Well, if they were intelligent, they'd probably do what I did, and draw their own conclusions from the available evidence--or do you think children should blindly beleive whatever they are taught?

Many scientific "facts" eventualy get disproven as our understanding of the universe improves, so I don't think we should be teaching anything as absolute, unquestionable truth--that's what religion does. Instead I think school should teach whatever the evidence most supports at the time--and make it clear that that is all it is.

I think the main reason why kids are so disinterested in science these days is that they think there is no more territory to explore, no more interesting mysteries to unravel. It's like that with every field, physics, psychology, medicine, history--most people feel like we alredy know everything, or most of it anyway.

If you tell the kids the truth--that we don't have all the answers, that everything their parents and teachers beleive might be absolutely wrong, and that if they study hard enough, they might be the ones to prove that; just like Gallileo and Einstien before them--I think kids might be far more interested in learning than they currently are.

Maciamo
02-07-06, 11:26
I agree that science is evolving all the time. But it is better to teach something that is currently true (or at least very close to reality) than something that is completely false. The BBC article in link in my OP said that millions of people around the world are still taught that the earth is about 3000 years old. We know for sure that even human civilisations are much older, and because of fossils, evolution, climatic changes and so on, we know that the earth is several billion years old. Now it may not be that important for children to know exactly how old. It's not such a big deal if scientists later find evidence that the earth was not 4.57 billion year old, but more probably 4.81 billion years old... This is just a small mistake of estimation (percentage wise), but 3000 or 5000 years is clearly not a small mistake but just a lie based on religious texts.

strongvoicesforward
02-07-06, 11:42
...I don't think we should be teaching anything as absolute, unquestionable truth--that's what religion does. Instead I think school should teach whatever the evidence most supports at the time--and make it clear that that is all it is.

There is a real world out there with real truths. Those should be admitted to and they are not all open to subjective views that fly in the face of evidence that supports it.

Just because someone contests something, does that then mean what they are contesting cannot be taught to kids as absolute truth?

What if someone contests that gravity does not exist, and in fact what holds us here is due to angels pushing down on us? Do we then have to explain to the kids, "Some say gravity exists and holds us down, but in order for us to be tolerant and respectful of all people with different beliefs, we must also make room for the possibility that angels, not gravity, are pushing us down."

We sure can teach absolute truth as we know it based on the evidence we have. BUT science, a big part of science, always reserves the right to modify what we know as truth whenever new evidence comes in to play.

The key word is "absolute." It is thrown in there to monkey wrench a single word, "truth." And the truth is gravity holds us in place and holy books are myths just as surely as 99.9% of the population now knows that Zeus and his pantheon of subgods and goddesses were also myths.

That is the truth.

Maciamo
02-07-06, 12:28
And the truth is gravity holds us in place and holy books are myths just as surely as 99.9% of the population now knows that Zeus and his pantheon of subgods and goddesses were also myths.

Good example, as in ancient Greece many philosophers also criticised "the gods" as being fictive, mythical, lies... They encountered angry responses from 'ordinary' Greeks who did strongly believe in them. Even kings and generals consulted with the Oracle or sometimes had to make sacrifices (like Agamemnon with his own daughter) in order to win battles... It sounds absird to all people nowadays, but for today's philosophers Judeo-Christian or Muslim gods with their schizophrenic human-like personalities (judging, angry yet compassionate, almighty and benevolent yet cruel) sound all the same absurd.